IRON RANGE — Local results are in for the National Audubon Society’s 120th Christmas Bird count that took place on Jan. 1.
The local survey area included a 7-mile radius from the St. Louis County Courthouse in Hibbing “as the crow flies.” The route encompasses Chisholm and Hibbing, north to Balkan Township and south of the Range Regional Airport.
Local compiler Christine Olson said on Monday that there were 19 species and 1,152 individual birds recorded in the local count. She noted there was some common winter birds were lacking.
“No Pine Grosbeaks, Common Redpolls, and Pine Siskins were observed,” Olson said.
“These bird species are finding adequate food sources up in Canada, so they have not needed to venture this far south, though a few may trickle into our area,” she said.
Here are the results of this year’s local Christmas Bird Count: Black-capped Chickadee: 557; Rock Pigeon: 158; European Starling: 137; Blue Jay: 68; Common Raven: 49; Red-breasted Nuthatch: 28; White-breasted Nuthatch: 15; Downy Woodpecker: 31; Hairy Woodpecker: 29; Ruffed Grouse: 7; Canada Jay: 1; American Crow: 36; Pileated Woodpecker: 8; Northern Shrike: 2; Rough-legged Hawk: 1; Cedar Waxwing:1; Evening Grosbeak: 14; American Goldfinch: 9; American Three-toed Woodpecker: 1.
The Audubon Christmas Bird Count utilizes the power of volunteers to track the health of bird populations at a scale that scientists could never accomplish alone, according to information from the National Audubon Society.
Olson said that two field observers spent more than 14 hours and drove a combined nearly 252 miles on count day. Eight feeder watcher-teams spent a combined 23 hours watching their bird feeders and yards.
Data compiled in the Hibbing and Chisholm area will record every individual bird and bird species seen in a specified area, contributing to a vast community science network that continues a tradition stretching back 120 years.